BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast

BiggerPockets Podcast 177: Using Fixer-Upper Rentals (BRRRR) to Achieve Financial Independence with Ben Walhood

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When you hear the acronym “BRRRR,” what comes to mind? Winter? Well, today on the BiggerPockets Podcast, we’re going to talk about BRRRR — and, no, we’re not talking about the temperature! On this powerful episode, we dive deep into one of the most popular and exciting strategies for real estate investors today — the BRRRR strategy (Buy-Rehab-Rent-Refinance-Repeat). We talk with Ben Walhood, a real estate investor from the Chicago suburbs who has found tremendous success buying properties in several states using BRRRR, as well as several other strategies. You’ll learn why it took Ben nearly ten years to “take off” as an investor, as well as the best tips he has for finding success today. Grab a notebook and pencil — because this is one show you’ll want to take some notes!

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This Show Sponsored By

b2rfinance-logoWe just wanted to give a shout out to our podcast sponsor on today’s show: B2R Finance

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Fire Round Sponsor

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Tips for switching from the linear path of a sales person to a real estate investor
  • What a “no doc loan” is
  • How Ben bought his first house in college to house hack
  • How he learns each market he gets into
  • The story of how he failed horribly on his second deal
  • What to do when you get calls from tenants in the middle of the night
  • Why every strategy could work
  • How he got better with his type of properties over time
  • The best deal he’s had
  • Why you have to fail to succeed
  • Tips on the BRRRR strategy
  • How many properties Ben has
  • What you should know about CapEx
  • Tips for using insurance companies
  • How to perform a walkthrough of a typical BRRRR deal
  • The downsides to this strategy
  • Tips for short-term financing through crowdfunding
  • Where is Ben going with his investing
  • How we was able to quit his job through investing
  • And SO much more!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show

Tweetable Topics:

  • “I just hated the idea of throwing away money on rent every month.” (Tweet This!)
  • “Find people that choose to rent and not ones that need to rent.” (Tweet This!)
  • “I had to try and fail before I could figure out what success looked like.” (Tweet This!)
  • “It’s all about putting in the right people and putting some terms in your lease.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Ben

Real strategies that work for real people seeking to build wealth through real estate investments. Co-hosted by Brandon Turner and David Greene, this podcast provides actionable advice from investo...
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    Karen O. from NYC, NY
    Replied over 3 years ago
    This was a great show, guys. And Ben was a fabulous guest. Thanks. Keep up the good work.
    Matthew Pinkston Rental Property Investor from Yokohama Shi, Kanagawa-ken
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Great show! I was so happy to finally hear from someone who got started in Iowa! My first deal was also back right before the crash in my old college town (Ames). Though I did go to UofI for a year, so I wonder if we might have crossed paths lol. I don’t think this was mentioned on the show, but the crash didn’t seem to affect my property values very much. I think Iowa college towns seem to be pretty sheltered economically. Did you have the same experience in IC? Anyway, I’m really glad to hear of your success after those years of struggling. Cheers!
    Ben Walhood Buy-and-Hold Investor from Glen Ellyn, Illinois
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Hey Matthew, I’m glad you enjoyed the show! Yes, I completely agree about the economic shelter in Iowa. I don’t typically invest in college towns, so I’m not sure if that was the primary factor or if the Iowa market simply didn’t see as large of a bubble/bust cycle. But my rental there nearly stayed flat in value since before the recession. A little appreciation would be nice! -Ben
    Chris T. Investor from Downers Grove, Illinois
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Thanks Ben ! Great information, and your quote, “everyone falls down, winners get up and top winners get up faster” My goal is to be where you are currently, hope to learn from you more and see you around.
    Zeb Buckley from Lawrence, Kansas
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Great show. As someone interested in the BRRRR strategy I really enjoyed all the info and shared experiences from Ben
    Jon Sanborn from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Very cool idea using crowdfunding for short term financing! I’m definitely going to look into it more. Great show, thanks Ben, Brandon and Josh!
    Brian Loper from Red Bank, New Jersey
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Hey Brandon, you had a note on your board during the podcast about a free rental book, at least I think you did, lol. Curious if you gave that away didn’t hear you mention it in the podcast. Another good show. Thanks
    Brandon Turner Investor from Maui, HI
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Hah! you were the only person to notice! Check your email inbox – I just sent it to you. Congrats!
    Brian Loper from Red Bank, New Jersey
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Wow, that’s awesome!! I was just thinking that I should get these books now that I’ve been looking at rental properties. Very Cool, thank you Sir!! I will put them to good use.
    Erika Carter Residential Real Estate Broker from Chicago, IL
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Awesome show Ben!
    Ryan Murakami Professional from Las Vegas, Nevada
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Great show Ben! I heard you mention that you’ve used unsecured business lines (UBLs). What did you need to show the lender to qualify for the UBL? Cash flow statement? Tax returns? I know there are ways to get UBLs for newer LLCs as there are a few companies that claim they can get them for you (for a pretty big fee). Im trying to do this on my own and I can’t seem to find too much info on it. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!! and congrats on your success in real estate investing!!
    Ben Walhood Buy-and-Hold Investor from Glen Ellyn, Illinois
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Hey Ryan, I’m glad you enjoyed the show! What I use, mostly, is an Unsecured Promissory Note (fancy term for an IOU). This is a situation where you buy money from someone (typically friends/family who know and trust you) and you give them a piece of paper that says when and how you’ll pay them back. The note is only as valuable as the integrity of the person borrowing the money, so make sure you say what you’ll do and do what you’ll say! As far as the UBL’s you’re alluding to, these seem to be popping up everywhere right now. If you search for business loans, business lines of credit, and business credit cards, you should be able to find ample information and ‘cut out the middle man’. Best of luck!
    Ryan Murakami Professional from Las Vegas, Nevada
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Thanks Ben!!
    Carrie Alluri Real Estate Agent from Gurnee, Illinois
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Great podcast Ben! Crowdfunding sounds really interesting. I will be looking into that as funding option. Glad you found success with the BRRRR method! I love the repeatable process.
    Julie Marquez Investor from Seattle, WA
    Replied over 3 years ago
    That was a wonderful podcast Ben! I am in the process of buying a home that is a live in flip, plus house hacking with the mother-in-law downstairs. I love this process and it’s great to hear that it works so well for you! Thanks for sharing all your great information!
    Chris Rohrbach Commercial Real Estate Broker from Issaquah, Washington
    Replied over 3 years ago
    @Benwalhood, you mentioned that you rarely find your deals on the MLS. Where/how do you find most of your deals?
    Account Closed from Chiriquí, Chiriquí
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Great show Ben! Thanks for shearing. The section about financing through Crowdfunding is very interesting .
    Dmitriy Fomichenko Solo 401k Expert from Anaheim Hills, CA
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Really enjoyed the podcast. Like you said, every strategy performs differently for individuals, so keep your distance from the ones who claim there’s to be the best. Using real estate crowdfunding is another excellent thing to keep in mind, especially considering the quick fund processing. Thanks for sharing!